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Racism and Tribalism in the World Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Antony Felix O. Simbowo, Kenya Sep 10, 2003
Peace & Conflict , Cultural Diversity   Opinions
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Reading newspapers and magazines recently in Kenya it has not been hard to notice the hue and cry elicited by the survivors of torture, corruption, tribalism and other shortcomings of the former Kanu regime. Their call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission could not have come at a better time.

Ethnic and to a larger extent racial prejudice are very serious cross-cultural issues that the world of today has to contend with in spite of the Babel tower of globalization campaigns. Europe, one of the abodes of civilization and ‘enlightment,’ has suffered from the ethnic cleansing of the Serbians versus the Albanians, as Africa battles its own share of ethnic conflicts from time to time. Starting with the Kenyan scenario of the early and mid nineties to the Rwandan and Burundian cases of the Hutus and Tutsis puts Africa in a league of its own in fighting ethnic crises and prejudices.

According to some Members of Parliament from the Kenya’s Kalenjin community, the proposed commission will be used as a witch hunting machine targeting members of their community. This they say is more of a malicious vendetta than a transparent commission out to shed some light into the mistakes of the previous government. They further stress that the commission might be used as a conduit for propagating tribal agenda. How ironic! One glaring fact that the former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa was called to assist Kenya establish this commission should be enough to give the government a benefit of doubt if Rev. Tutu’s experience with the same situation in post apartheid South Africa is anything to go by.

The truth is that these Kenyan politicians are in fact seeing the commission as a Kikuyu revenge tool for the tribal/ethnic crimes and other derogatory acts committed against the Gikuyu community during the dark days of Kanu’s rule. Let us be open-minded here by giving the Narc government a benefit of doubt in regard to such accusations. Let us remove pre-conceived ideologies from this one issue. As at now the best thing for the NARC corruption hawks and vultures to do is leave the old Mzee former President Daniel Arap Moi in peace for he deserves to exercise his rights as a citizen of this country and also an elder statesman and as such witness the much spoken about democracy at work in the new Kenyan political scenario. One may be tempted to ask whether the word “respect” will ever abound in the words and actions of some leaders who incessantly pour out unnecessary verbiage in attacking their elders.

The mass graft witnessed at the hands of crooked leaders was of earth-shaking proportions. Considering that massive cover-ups also furnished the looting, the kind of hard cash money that seemed to have changed hands at that time was unimaginable. The formation of the commission is thus of paramount importance if the Kenyan public conscience is to be relieved of clouding doubts, suspicions, mistrust and other emotional burden uploaded in that political era. What the Kenyan public ear is waiting for is when the perpetrators of the ethnic violence and other acts of social and bureaucratic irresponsibility are brought to book. They surely owe an apology to Kenyans.

In as much as there is a concentrated advocacy for the corrupt and prejudiced leaders to be held accountable, there should be an open prosecution. Let the innocent remain so the guilty can be taken to task. In that way, the NARC government will leave a satisfied common ‘mwananchi’. Only by doing this can they achieve their much belated vision cum mission of creating 500,000 jobs a year for Kenyans.

Back to the issue of tribalism and racism more wonders and sociopolitical phenomena still remain unexplained in the world; for example what was the driving force behind the Jewish annihilation by the German Fuehrer Adolph Hitler, one of the greatest perpetrators of crimes against humanity? Take a look at the recent German-Italian flurry of racial trajectories to an extent that their respective leaders failed to come to an agreement to the detriment of the emerging European Union behemoth!

One glaring truth is that there exists neo Nazi, Ku Klux Klan and other racially and ethnically segregative groupings in today’s world is yet another injection to the notion that history will repeat itself. As the Israelis battle for the control of their homeland, the rest of the ‘weak’ world watch afar not knowing what to do and not having the necessary resources to help quell the most critical conflict in the history of mankind.

The reality that leaders like of Benjamin Netanyahu are simply relieving their past and the accompanying nightmares should be considered when analyzing the Middle East conflict. Having seen his forefathers eliminated is bad enough to give him the vim as he fights for his fellow Israelis. With peace having become an elusive commodity in that part of the world, the only hope would be prayers for the hapless youth and children caught up in the melee since this conflict has always served to reveal more than meets the eye with revelations that the European Union is an ardent supporter of the Hamas movement leaving commentators and political analysts baffled.

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Antony Felix O. Simbowo

TakingITGlobal has never been more apt than it is now in providing a forum for expression. This is because the dynamic world has undeveloped challenges that pose a great problem to the growth and daily life of any youth in the global society. What with the incessant wars, poverty, HIV/AIDS, pornography, racism and several other vices creeping into the society in a culture best objectified as vicious gradualism.
Here is where writing comes in handy and the TakingITGlobal literati, glitterati and pundits alike have provided a vital conduit through which these vices, positive and negative dynamism can be expressed.
I am saddened for example, when a promising youth is reduced to a hopeless parasite by drugs. More saddening is when I see the mercilessness, the hopelessness, the dereliction, the lack of love that many children, youth and people are subjected to due to wars, poverty, pornography and such as other negativities which silently and slowly kill the spirit and will within humans! Having gone through such experiences myself, I pray that God gives me the massive ability to be able to help these people to the best of my ability with His guidance, provision and protection. I have often wondered whether the expression "do unto others what you would have them do unto you" is being subjected to relativity. These are the problems which need highlighting and what better forum is there than TakingITGlobal.
I am privileged to be part of this ideologically vimmed and gustoed community.
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